Greetings, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has shared many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we explore the technique for renewing hope.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Renewal of Hope
"For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." Romans, Chapter 8, Verses 24 and 25
Brothers and sisters, we know that sometimes in the struggle with material reality, those times when we are held so tightly in its grasp that we can scarcely breathe, we feel our hope slipping away. When we view the horizon of life, all we see are the dark storm clouds of trials and tribulations. We wonder how we will get through these never-ending troubles, one after another, and sometimes one on top of the other. Before we can finish one trial, we get hit with another.
Our bodies sometimes are wracked with pain and our minds are filled with turmoil while our emotions take flight on the wings of anxiety and depression, with a connection stop to despair somewhere along the flight path. Sometimes the emotional response to these experiences is overwhelming, much worse than the actual experience itself. And when they are infiltrated by fear, we lose control over our emotions altogether. How can we control these emotional responses? We know we can’’t get rid of them; they are a part of our humanity. How can we keep our hope strong and vibrant in the face of these hope-draining experiences?
We must look to the life of Jesus to inspire us to conquer life. Said Jesus, "Be of good cheer; in the world you will have tribulations, but I have overcome the world." We can be of good cheer in the face of tribulations because the victorious spirit of Jesus, the Spirit of Truth, surrounds our souls, empowering us as it empowered him. Jesus never stopped until he had mastered this life and all that pertains to it. Jesus experienced all the emotional ups and downs of life, but he did something else that few of us do consistently. He sought the Father’’s will in prayer whenever he faced any trials and tribulations. He lived like all others, who ““in the days of the flesh so frequently offered up prayers and supplications, even with strong feelings and tears, to Him who is able to save from all evil, and his prayers were effective because he believed."
Jesus understood emotions. Emotions are barometers of how we feel about what we are experiencing. While it is true that extreme emotional reactions cause us to become imbalanced, nevertheless it remains true that emotions impart a sense of reality to our lives. Thus, we can experience the emotions of joy as well as those of sorrow. He understood that while emotions are intense in the face of trials and tribulations, they are also transient, especially as we learn to adjust satisfactorily to them. Realizing this of itself dampens the emotional response. By seeking the Father’’s will, fear is increasingly replaced with spiritual love, which convicts us that we live in a friendly universe regardless of outward circumstances.
Without faith it is impossible to please God, because when we come to God, we must believe that he exists and that he rewards us (gives us spiritual values) if we diligently seek him. Faith is the foundation for hope. All spiritual values experienced in this life rests on the foundation of faith. Faith is given to us by the Father as our primary spiritual resource. Exercising faith makes it possible for us to know God, and to become like Him, perfect as he is perfect. How does faith do this? Faith creates a spiritual consciousness of the Father in our souls; in fact, we are conscious of Jesus, manifested by his Spirit of Truth. As God is love, so is he faith. To exercise faith is to experience the spiritual Father.
Faith is the value used to appropriate all other values. It is "the go-getter." As long as our faith remains active, we can get to the next value that makes hope possible: trust. Trust in the heavenly Father in the face of uncertainty and deteriorating material reality is justified because the Father is trustworthy. The reality of the Father’’s love for us guarantees that we are precious in his sight, and that our inability to appreciate our present status must be due to our lack of maturity rather than any fault with him.
The Father has a glorious plan for our lives. It begins to unfold in response to our reactions to the trials and tribulations of life. The stimulus of trials and tribulations--while not fully appreciated by us--is necessary because of the tremendous transformation we must undergo in moving from making material values supreme in our lives to making spiritual values as supreme. This is when we finally "get it." In order to transcend this life, we must desire to do so with all our hearts and souls. And it is only this "strong stimulus" of trials and tribulations that induces us to abandon the material values as being supreme and embrace the spiritual values as being supreme, to begin to do the Father’’s will, the doing of which is eternal life.
As this is a relatively long and drawn-out process, and with a slowly deteriorating material mechanism, we need something to pull us through. We need something to give us a picture of our ultimate status. This something is the value of hope. To see by the light of hope, we must trust the Father. Without trust, there is no foundation to exercise any divine qualities. These qualities are responsible for assisting us in our transition from the material to the spiritual. Since we are incomplete, we must use these qualities to give us tranquility of mind and spirit. We must use them to have divine stability. Without these qualities, we become like a straw in the wind, blown from pillar to post. We must trust the Father to do what we cannot do for ourselves. We do not have the power to transition from the material life to the spiritual life, to transition from the material life where there is death, to the spiritual life where there is eternal life.
At the bottom of trust lies the Father’’s goodness. The Father is worthy of trust because of his faithfulness, his trustworthiness, his power, his great love for us, and his precious promises. We are his children and the Father loves us with an infinite and eternal affection. His great love for us undergirds his goodness. Thus, we see we have faith, trust, and hope. The exercise of our faith connects us to the Father and creates a spiritual awareness of his presence. Using this faith connection, we begin to commune with him, seeking to know and to execute his will, thereby reaffirming our faith and trust in him and in his divine plan for our lives. As we continue to affirm our faith and trust in him through prayer and worship, our hope is constantly renewed.
As we continue to worship, this hope, embraced by faith and trust, creates a consciousness of the time when we shall have completed the temporal experience. Hope then goes on to show us the vision when all struggles have been completed, and we are perfected in the love of the Father. It shows us the vision of our souls entering the loving embrace of the Father on Paradise. "When the suffering servant obtains a vision of God, there follows a soul peace which passes all human understanding."
This concludes today's message on renewal of hope. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.